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Special Education Advocate Training TM  (SEAT)

2018-2019 dates and registration will be announced in early Summer. 

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter by creating a guest profile or click here to join now and receive the announcement and member discounts on training. 

COPAA is proud to conduct a year-long Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT)TM , the only nationally developed and recognized year-long course that provides participants with training to become a special education advocate. Click here for more general information on Advocate Training

The SEAT course is based in part on the SEAT Curriculum TM  developed through a partnership between COPAA and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) University Center for Excellence, University of Southern California on a three year demonstration grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education in 2005. The grant funded portion of the project ended in 2009, resulting in development of a model curriculum for advocacy training that was vetted through 3 cohorts under the direction of a 10 member National Advisory Board, and several members of the COPAA Training Committee, all of whom are nationally recognized special education advocates and attorneys.

2018-19 will be the 7th cohort for COPAA,  using a web-based curriculum and distance learning. The course is being offered as a combination of self-paced web learning, readings, group and individual assignments as well as live virtual classrooms.  Participants must have a computer, web access, and frequent access to email. The course typically requires 5-6 hours per week of work (including the 2 hour mandatory class).

Participants are expected to complete work before the virtual classes to be able to participate fully in discussions. If an issue arises that prevents this from happening, participants should contact the instructors to discuss options.

Click Here for SEAT's Program and Development History

Past Instructors have included (Live Classes): 

Selene Almazan, Esq., Eileen Crumm, Ph.D., MPA, Mandy Favaloro, Esq.,Mark Kamleiter, Esq., David Beinke, Susan Bruce, Cynthia Daniels-Hall, Barbara Ebenstein, Esq., Sonja Kerr, Esq., Mark Martin, Esq., Claudia Roberts, JD, Diane Willcutts, and guest speakers may be announced for specific topics

Online and Recorded Webinar Contributors: Heather Allcock, PhD, David Berney, Esq., Kayla Bower, Esq., Susan Bruce, Matt Cohen, Esq., Pamela Coveney, Esq., Michelle Davis, ME.D., Mary Eaddy, Dave L. Edyburn, Ph.D., Matthew Engel, Esq., Elizabeth Eubanks, Esq., Melissa Farrall, PhD,  Jennifer R. Fee, Esq., Andrew Feinstein, Esq., Charles P. Fox, Esq., Monica Hammell, M.D.,Caroline Heller, Esq., Felicia Heurwitz, PhD., Catherine A. Holahan, Esq., Elaine Holden, PhD, Heather Ironside, M.S., Dana Jonson, Esq., Eric Levine, EdD, Ron Lospennato Esq., Mark Martin, Esq., Ann McCarthy, Annie McLaughlin, Ph.D.,BCBA-D, Laurie Markus, Esq., Dorene Philpot, Esq., Carol Quirk, EdD., Lisa Hess Rice, PhD., Gabriela Ruiz, Esq., Ricki Sabia, JD, Jennifer Sang, Esq., Ann E. Simun, PsyD, Lydia Sofier, Ph.D, Janine Solomon, Esq., Cheryl Steedman, Esq., Wayne Steedman, Esq.,Kathy Wian, Carolina Watts, JD, Jane R. Wettach, Esq., Diane Willcutts, Mark Woodsmall, Esq., Jon Zimring, Esq., and many more.     

This year we have two levels of SEAT classes being offered:


Seat 1.0 

This 9 week course is intended as an introduction to advocacy for education services for children/youth with special needs. This class in intended for people new to advocacy, who want to increase their understanding of the field of special education advocacy; critical provisions of the federal laws that govern education to students with disabilities; and, increasing knowledge and skills to take the first steps to becoming a special education advocate for students and their families.This class can be taken ‘stand alone’ or can be used as a pre-requisite to SEAT 2.0.

  • Class Dates: TBA
  • SEAT Intro 1.0 Materials (to be purchased on own)
  1.  Pam Wright and Pete Wright, From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd edition
  2. Lawrence Siegel, The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child, Nolo Press, 9th edition.
  • Tuition Cost: $425 for COPAA Members ; $525 Non-Members (Due with application)
  • Cancellation Policy: If not accepted in the course, full refund. If withdraw by 8/27/18, full refund minus $100 fee. No Refunds after 8/27/18. 
  • Maximum Number of Participants: 35


SEAT 2.0

The Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT) 2.0 is yearlong course, classroom, self-study and a required practicum, that provides participants with the information, training (web-based) and practical experience to become a special education advocate. 

This course assumes that participants are familiar with special education and the IEP process; the range of disabilities and challenges addressed by IDEA; disability culture; and, working with families of children with disabilities. This course includes reading and assignments in addition to the live class. All assignments are graded pass/fail. 

Students must complete all assignments and receive a pass on each of any graded materials to pass the course. If you do not think you can complete all assignments due to your work or home schedule, please consider dropping the course and take SEAT at another time.


Students who do not pass assignments will be given an opportunity to redo the assignment or do makeup work. The goal is to assist each student to succeed and pass the course.

  •  Class Dates: TBA
  •  Seat 2.0 Materials:
  1. A Practical Guide to Special Education Advocate Training (included with registration fee)
  2. COPAA Webinar Archives: Access to the complete Library of COPAA Webinars (included with registration fee)
  • Tuition Cost: $1,350 for COPAA Members and $1,500 for Non Members.  30% due with application, remaining balance due by specified date on application.
  • Cancellation Policy: If not accepted into the course, full refund, If withdraw by 11/16/18, refund minus deposit paid (30% of tuition), No refunds after 11/16/18.
  • Maximum Number of Participants: 60
  • Application Process: Applications are submitted online and applicants must complete the form in its entirety. Only completed applications will be considered. Space is limited and the course will fill up quickly.

Registration and attendance to COPAA educational events is NOT open to anyone who is not a member of COPAA OR does not meet eligibility. Any individual who currently receives more than 50% of his/her income from state, local, or, in the case of an attorney, who has represented such an agency or school district within the past five years, shall not be permitted to register or attend a COPAA educational event unless a formal exception is granted by the Executive Director of COPAA.  (Click here for more information regarding membership, guest membership and for the full eligibility policy).


Scholarship Discount: 

A limited number of qualified individuals whose family income is at or below 2 x the federal poverty level or who have extenuating circumstances may apply for a SEAT registration fee discount. The discounted tuition is 30% of full tuition rate. Requests will be considered on first come basis. To apply for consideration you must complete the online application for SEAT and note in the comments box you are applying for a scholarship. Then send a letter of request with proof that you meet the poverty guidelines (i.e.the first two pages of your federal tax return) to SEAT@copaa.org   A COPAA Representative will contact you to confirm eligibility and availability. Click here for current Federal Guidelines


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